Hosea 8-9

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

  II.     The Teaching of the Prophet, 4:1 - 14:9 (continued)


            B.  National pollution and its punishment, 6:4 - 10:15 (continued)


First, there is a –

                        1.   Statement of God’s case against Israel, 6:4 - 7:16


We have seen –

                                    a.   Fickleness, bloodguiltiness: which leads to the bloody harvest, 6:4-11


Next, we have seen God’s desire to show –

                                    b.  Mercy is prevented by persistent rebellion, adultery, and winebibbing, 7:1-16


Following the statement of God’s case against Israel, we see –

                  2.   Judgment pronounced, 8:1 - 9:17


We see Israel –

                              a.   Reaping the whirlwind, in which they are devoured by the world they doted on, 8:1-14


Hosea chapter 8 includes several specific illustrations of the nation’s rebellious attitude and announces God’s coming judgment (Bible Knowledge Commentary).


Hosea 8:1 Set the trumpet to thy mouth. He shall come as an eagle [i.e. Assyria will come like a vulture] against the house of the LORD, because they [i.e. because the Israelites] have transgressed my covenant, and trespassed against my law.


A trumpet would be blown to signal an impending battle. . . . The Assyrians were ready to swoop down on Israel like a powerful eagle.


Hosea 8:2 Israel shall cry unto me, My God, we know thee.


Although addressing God as My God and claiming to know or acknowledge Him, Israel was not being genuine. Her actions told the real story.


Hosea 8:3 Israel hath cast off the thing that is good [i.e. Israel has rejected the good – it’s too late now]: the enemy shall pursue him.


Israel had rejected what God wanted for them. They were not genuinely seeking the Lord; instead, they were disobeying the law and had involved themselves in idolatry and much sin.


Hosea 8:4 They have set up kings, but not by me [i.e. but without my consent]: they have made princes, and I knew it not [i.e. without my approval, but I did not acknowledge them] [Between 752 and 732 B.C. four of Israel’s kings were assassinated]: of their silver and their gold have they made them idols [i.e. with their silver and their gold they made idols for themselves], that they may be cut off [i.e. to their own destruction].


Hosea 8:5 Thy calf, O Samaria, hath cast thee off [i.e. your calf, O Samaria, is rejected]; mine anger is kindled against them [i.e. against the idolaters]: how long will it be ere they attain to innocency? [i.e. they are incapable of purity (or innocence)]


8:5 – (RSB) The calf was worshiped (cf. Ex. 32:4; I Kings 12:28 ).


Exodus 32:4 And he [i.e. Aaron] received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool [i.e. an engraving], after he had made it a molten [i.e. molded] calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.


I Kings 12:28 Whereupon the king [i.e. Jeroboam] took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.


Hosea 8:6 For from Israel was it [i.e. the calf] also: the workman made it; therefore it is not God: but the calf of Samaria shall be broken in pieces.


Hosea 8:7 For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk [i.e. the stalk has no head]: the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield [i.e. if it were to yield], the strangers [i.e. foreigners] shall swallow it up.


8:7 – (RSB) Israel sowed the wind of idolatry and reaped the whirlwind of destruction.


The wind which Israel has sown speaks of the futility which Israel had planted like seed. It would yield a crop of destruction (represented by the whirlwind). All her efforts directed toward self-preservation would be self-destructive (BKC).


Israel’s crop would be worthless, containing only stalks without grain. Even if she would produce grain, foreigners would take it away and the nation would not benefit from her labor (BKC).


Hosea 8:8 Israel is swallowed up: now shall they be among the Gentiles [i.e. among the foreigners] as a vessel wherein is no pleasure [i.e. like a vessel in which no one delights (i.e. like a worthless thing)].


Hosea 8:9 For they [i.e. the Israelites, the people of Israel] are gone up to Assyria, a wild ass alone by himself [i.e. like a wild donkey alone by itself]: Ephraim hath hired lovers [i.e. Israel sold herself to foreign powers].


Israel’s alliances were . . . compared to prostitution; like a harlot she had sold herself to lovers (i.e., to foreign powers) (BKC)


Hosea 8:10 Yea, though they have hired among the nations [i.e. although they hire allies among the nations], now will I gather them, and they shall sorrow a little for the burden of the king of princes [i.e. they will begin to waste away under the oppression of the mighty king of Assyria].


8:10 – (RSB) burden. The tribute imposed on Israel by the king of princes, the Assyrian monarch, but it bought no security.


Hosea 8:11 Because Ephraim hath made many altars to sin [i.e. for sin offerings], altars shall be unto him to sin [i.e. for Israel they have become altars for sinning].


. . . The religious acts conducted (on their altars) were hypocritical. Sacrifices are an offense to God when not combined with a wholehearted devotion to His commandments. . . . Israel had built many altars, but at the same time had treated the many things of God’s Law . . . as something alien. So the Lord would not accept the sacrifices she offered Him (BKC).


Hosea 8:12 I have written to him the great things of my law, but they were counted [i.e. considered, regarded] as a strange thing [i.e. they act as if these laws don’t apply to them].


Hosea 8:13 They sacrifice flesh for the sacrifices of mine offerings, and eat it; but the LORD accepteth them not [i.e. the LORD is not pleased with them]; now will he [i.e. the LORD] remember their iniquity, and visit their sins: they shall return to Egypt.


8:13 – (RSB) they shall return to Egypt (means that) God would reverse their deliverance from Egypt and send them back into captivity (this time in Assyria).


Egypt stands here as a symbol for the place of future exile and bondage. . . . This highlights the appropriateness of God’s judgment. In the deliverance from Egyptian bondage Israel had experienced God’s grace. Having spurned that grace, she would return to slavery (BKC).


Hosea 8:14 For Israel hath forgotten his Maker, and buildeth temples; and Judah hath multiplied fenced [i.e. fortified] cities: but I will send a fire upon his cities, and it shall devour the palaces thereof [i.e. his palaces].


                              b.  Bondage in exile, the withering away of Israel, 9:1-17


Israel’s hostility punished (9:1-9) (BKC)


Hosea 9:1 Rejoice not, O Israel, for joy, as other people: for thou hast gone a whoring from thy God [i.e. you have played the harlot against your God], thou hast loved a reward upon every cornfloor [i.e. you have made love (for) hire (i.e. a prostitute’s pay) on every threshing floor].


9:1 – (RSB) . . . Israel had followed her heathen neighbors in practicing licentious fertility rites.


Israel was not to rejoice in expectation of a plentiful harvest . . . because her unfaithfulness had precluded any further divine blessing. . . (BKC).


Hosea 9:2 The floor [i.e. the threshing floor] and the winepress shall not feed them [i.e. your harvests will be too small to feed you], and the new wine shall fail in her [i.e. there will be no grapes for making new wine].


At every threshing floor Israel had erroneously attributed the prosperity of her harvests to Baal. . . . She had become an adulteress, offering worship to Baal and receiving from Baal the wages of a prostitute. Those “wages” were wheat (at the threshing floor), vines and figs, and food, water, wool, linen, oil, and drink. That is, Israel believed that by prostituting herself in worship of Baal that Baal in turn blessed her crops and gave her other necessities of life (BKC).


Hosea 2:5 For their mother [i.e. Israel] hath played the harlot: she that conceived them hath done shamefully: for she said, I will go after my lovers, that give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, mine oil and my drink.


Israel’s judgment was in keeping with Deuteronomy 28:14-15 , 50-51.


Deuteronomy 28:14-1514 And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them. 15 But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee.


In Deuteronomy 28:50-51 some of these curses are stated –

Deuteronomy 28:50-5150 A nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor shew favour to the young: 51 And he shall eat the fruit of thy cattle, and the fruit of thy land, until thou be destroyed: which also shall not leave thee either corn, wine, or oil, or the increase of thy kine [i.e. cattle], or flocks of thy sheep, until he have destroyed thee.


Back to Hosea 9:3

Hosea 9:3 They shall not dwell [i.e. they will not remain] in the LORD’S land; but Ephraim shall return to Egypt, and they shall eat unclean things in Assyria.


Egypt is mentioned as a symbol of the place of exile. Assyria would be the actual location (BKC).


Hosea 9:4 They shall not offer wine offerings [i.e. they will not pour out wine offerings] to the LORD, neither shall they [i.e. their sacrifices] be pleasing unto him: their sacrifices shall be unto them as the bread of mourners; all that eat thereof shall be polluted [i.e. defiled, unclean]: for their bread for their soul [i.e. for their bread shall be for their own life, and it] shall not come into the house of the LORD.


Mourners are those who would have contacted a dead body. As a result, everything they touched would be made ceremonially unclean and would not be fit for use in their worship. The Israelites in Assyrian captivity would not be able to legitimately worship the Lord at the temple in Jerusalem because they would be living in a foreign land. Their sacrifices would not be pleasing to the Lord because they would be offered in a foreign land and would, therefore, be ceremonially unclean just as if they were mourners who had come in contact with a dead body.


Hosea 9:5 What will ye do in the solemn day [i.e. in the day of the appointed festival], and in the day of the feast of the LORD?


They would be in a foreign land and unable to celebrate any of the required feast days.


Hosea 9:6 For, lo, they are gone [i.e. gone into captivity to Assyria] because of destruction: Egypt shall gather them up, Memphis shall bury them: the pleasant places for their silver, nettles [i.e. weeds] shall possess them: thorns shall be in their tabernacles.


Destruction would sweep over the land. . . . Those who happened to escape the sword of the invading army would face exile. The reference to Egypt probably has the same meaning as in preceding verses (i.e. that it was symbolic of the place of exile though the actual place of exile was Assyria). Memphis, about 20 miles south of modern Cairo, was famous as a burial place. Here it symbolizes the ultimate destination of the exiles – a foreign graveyard. Few would ever return to their homeland. . . . Meanwhile back in Israel the exile’s possessions (treasures of silver) and homes ({tabernacles or} tents) would lie in ruins and would be overgrown by briers and thorns. . . (BKC).


Hosea 9:7 The days of visitation are come [i.e. days of punishment have come], the days of recompence are come [i.e. the days of reckoning (retribution) have come]; Israel shall know it: the prophet is a fool [i.e. is (considered) a fool], the spiritual man is mad [i.e. is (considered) insane], for [i.e. because of] the multitude [i.e. the greatness] of thine iniquity, and the great hatred [i.e. your great hostility, your great enmity].


9:7-8 – (RSB) The people reacted to Hosea’s somber warnings by declaring him a fool, whereas in reality he was the nation’s watchman.


Hosea 9:8 The watchman of Ephraim was with my God [i.e. the prophet is a watchman over Israel for my God]: but the prophet is a snare of a fowler in all his ways [i.e. the snare of a bird catcher is in all his paths], and hatred in the house of his God.


. . . Israel tried to ensnare the prophets God had placed as watchmen over the nation. A watchman was responsible for warning a city of an approaching enemy. . . . In the same way God’s prophets were to warn the people of coming judgment on sin. . . . The house of his God refers to the land of Israel. . . .


Hosea 9:9 They have deeply corrupted themselves, as in the days of Gibeah: therefore he [i.e. God] will remember their iniquity, he will visit their sins.


9:9 – (RSB) The evil of Hosea’s day is compared to the days of Gibeah (cf. Judg. 19-21), when the tribe of Benjamin was almost annihilated.


The depth of the people’s sin against God is emphasized by Hosea’s reference to the days of Gibeah. . . . The phrase recalls the events that involved the brutal rape and murder of the Levite’s concubine by some bisexual men of Gibeah (Judges 19 ). On that occasion it was said, “Such a thing has never been seen or done, not since the day the Israelites came up out of Egypt” (Judg. 19:30). But Hosea said that black mark on Israel’s history was now rivaled by Israel’s blatant sins against the Lord.


Israel’s idolatry punished (9:10-17) (BKC)


9:10-17 – (RSB) Though at the beginning of the nation God found His people to be like refreshing grapes in the wilderness (v. 10), they turned to immorality at Baal-peor (cf. Num. 25) and defection at Gilgal (v. 15), where they proclaimed Saul king (1 Sam. 11:15). This combination of Baal worship and the desire for human kings instead of God destined the people to become wanderers among the nations (v. 17).


Hosea 9:10 I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as the firstripe in the fig tree at her first time [i.e. in its first season]: but they went to Baalpeor, and separated themselves unto that shame [i.e. and devoted themselves to that shameful idol]; and their abominations were according as they loved [i.e. and they became as vile (as detestable as the thing they loved, an abomination like the thing they loved].


Grapes in the desert would be an unexpected source of surprise and delight. The delicious early fruit on the fig tree was irresistible. . . (BKC).


However, the Lord’s attitude toward His people soon changed. When they arrived at Peor they engaged in sexual immorality with Moabite and Midianite women as part of the fertility rites associated with the worship of Baal Peor. . . . This event in Moses’ day was mentioned here because it set the pattern for Israel’s subsequent history, characterized by unfaithfulness. In Hosea’s day Israel had also defiled herself by making Baal her lover. Like the generation at Peor, they too had engaged in fertility rites . . . (BKC).


Hosea 9:11 As for Ephraim, their glory shall fly away like a bird, from the birth, and from the womb, and from the conception [i.e. no birth, no pregnancy, no conception].


Hosea 9:12 Though they bring up their children, yet will I bereave them, that there shall not be a man left: yea, woe also to them when I depart from them!


Hosea 9:13 Ephraim, as I saw Tyrus [i.e. Ephraim, like Tyre], is planted in a pleasant place: but Ephraim shall bring forth his children to the murderer.


Hosea 9:14 Give them, O LORD: what wilt thou give? give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts.


Their breasts would be dry because there would be no children to nurse (BKC).


Hosea 9:15 All their wickedness is in Gilgal: for there I [i.e. God] hated them: for [i.e. because of] the wickedness of their doings I will drive them out of mine house, I will love them no more: all their princes are revolters [i.e. rebellious].


Hosea 9:16 Ephraim is smitten [i.e. stricken], their root is dried up, they shall bear no fruit: yea, though they bring forth, yet will I slay even the beloved fruit of their womb [i.e. I will slaughter their beloved children].


Hosea 9:17 My God will cast them away, because they did not hearken unto him [i.e. because they did not obey Him]: and they shall be wanderers among the nations.


This sermon is the 6th part of the series, Study of Hosea. Other sermons in this series are: